Cortico, which sponsors the Local Voices Network (LVN), grew out of the MIT Media Lab, where researchers studying social media became interested in designing new kinds of communication technologies better suited to civic needs.
Researchers at MIT’s Center for Constructive Communication (CCC) are now exploring new frontiers for LVN’s model – advancing sense-making capabilities such as pattern analysis across conversations and piloting new potentially high-impact use cases. For example, CCC collaborated on new sense-making methods with Cortico in Madison, Wisconsin using LVN to give community voices a meaningful presence in the city’s selection of a new police chief. Building on this success, a new CCC-Cortico collaboration is underway to enable community-powered understanding to shape the 2021 Boston mayoral and local elections.
Cortico has also collaborated with CCC to understand the impact of its model. By deeper analysis of LVN conversations combined with scalable machine learning method, researchers are developing metrics to quantify the quality of LVN conversations and working towards causal analyses of the role of facilitators.
LVN enabled us to explore how we might transparently bring community stories, questions, and perspectives into the decision making mechanisms of civic officials. Our sense-making process gains depth and richness from the voices of participants and dynamics of the conversations made visible from the unique tools and processes of LVN.Maggie Hughes, PhD Candidate
MIT Center for Constructive Communication